Microsoft's free upgrade offer to Windows 10 stands until July 2016. Customers who work on genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 systems may upgrade those systems to Microsoft's newest operating system Windows 10 free of charge.
It does not matter whether the source operating system is an OEM or Retail version, as both upgrade just fine to the new OS.
Retail versions offer the advantage that they allow you to change hardware of the PC without losing your license. The operating system will either activate automatically after the hardware swap or after contacting Microsoft.
OEM versions on the other hand allow only some hardware changes, say an increase in RAM, but not major replacements like a new motherboard.
A report on the German tech news site Ht4u suggests that the free upgrade to Windows 10 will turn retail licenses into OEM licenses that are linked to the machine.
I tried to verify this by checking the status of a retail system that I upgraded to Windows 10, but at least for the moment, it shows as a retail copy.
The only explanations I have for this is that there was some sort of miscommunication between the magazine and Microsoft, or that retail is shown during the "free upgrade" period only.
If we accept the information as true for a moment, it would mean that Windows 10 users who upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1 would not be able to upgrade core hardware of the computer after July 2016 regardless of whether they have upgraded from a retail or OEM version of the OS as their copy of Windows 10 would be an OEM copy effectively.
Previously revealed information, on Win Super Site for instance, claim the opposite. According to the information there, retail licenses upgraded to Windows 10 remain a retail license, and can be moved to a new computer (which also means that hardware changes are okay). This falls in line with the fact that retail versions show up as retail when you check them after the upgrade to Windows 10.
Check your system
You can verify the activation and license state, as well as the version of your operating system in the following way:
Microsoft revealed previously that it has no intention to prolong the free upgrade offer after its first year but provided little information on its plans to go forward.
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